Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Setback II

Well, it's been just over two weeks since I aggrevated the Sciatic nerve, which I know was caused doing the laundry, an effort carrying the basket up and down two floors of stairs. After 11 days of not walking, the pain felt slightly better by this last Monday so I started walking.

Mostly the body and muscles got bored sitting around resting and waiting, so I went on the shorter 6 mile walks. And after two days, I have to say the left leg hurts almost the entire walk, but it's not the muscles but the nerves

Now the nerve pain is consistent from above the hip (meaning off the spine) down the front and/or outside of the upper leg, the quadricep muscle, around the the outside of the knee, down the outside of the shin across the top of the foot to the big toe which is half numb.

I can't say the walks are good or easy, far from it, but I can do it. It's clear I can't walk the full 8 miles right now but I'll take 6 miles for awhile and see what happens, meaning I'll keep walking with occasional day off until the pain fades away or gets worse.

So that's the plan, to keep walking until something changes, pain and all. I'd rather do something to make it better or worse than just sit and wait. The nerves will yell at me whether I walk or sit, and at least walking I'm getting exercise.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Sad Tradeoff

I read an article about the rise of "Gluten Free" products, first by the small established companies, and recently by the larger companies, such as Girl Scout cookies, and even corporations. And while this is good, what I've learned in finding foods I can eat, it's often a wrong tradeoff.

While many people seek a gluten free diet out of choice or having Celiac disease, some people, like myself, it's not just about the gluten, it's about the grains, any grain and especially wheat, and about alternatives used for flour, such as rice, corn, potatoes, etc.

This is because the problems are the natural chemicals in many foods identified a few years ago by some Australian Gastroenterologists reseaching patients with Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS). They discovered the source of the problems were FODMAPS.

And why it's not gluten that's the problem but the grain itself. I've found I even have to eliminate grains and even some foods on the "approved" FODMAPS diet, like potatoes, all green or leafy vegetables, most fruit - except as jam where the cooking breaks down the chemicals, and other foods.

I've even found I've had to eliminated almost all spices, even those approved, except salt and just a touch of pepper, along with preservatives and many of the lesser ingredients often found in organic or natural foods and now as substitues in gluten free foods.

In short, you can write the foods I can eat on a 4x6 postit note with room for notes and doodles, but it's also a varied diet which is healthy and provides the wide ranges of nutrients, etc. a person needs. What it also does is restrict the vast majority of food and products sold in grocery stores.

And this includes many natural and organic foods because they often uses other grains, foods and spices to offset the loss of ingredients like meat, wheat, etc. In addition I have to check similar foods, like corn chips, corn tortillas, taco shells, etc., because of the other and lesser ingredients.

This has turned shopping into food experiments and reading lots of labels. One example I've found is that one of the few meats I can eat is sandwich ham, but only brands without the standard array of chemicals to preserve freshness, flavor, etc.

What this had done is made me a very conscious product and price shopper so I know where I can buy the foods I can eat for the cheapest prices, and means going to 3 different markets to fill the cabinets and refrigerator.

One good thing is that most of the foods are readily available while some are only sold at one of the stores if they stock it as I've found they rotate the stock and don't offer the product anymore and means shopping for an alternative.

Anyway, the point is that just getting rid of gluten doesn't solve the problem for some people, it's about the other foods, spices and chemicals often used as substitutes, and why you should always read the labels.

Gluten free doesn't mean wheat free or free of other grains or starches, or it's a cure all for people with IBS. It's often a tradeoff, sometimes a sad one because you end up not able to eat the old food and the new food too.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


This week has been one of the worst for the Sciatic nerve in over a year and reminded me who is in charge of the recovery to heal the pinched Sciatic nerve. Last Sunday I did the laundry which is walking up and down two flights of stairs to the laundry room.

This has been a problem since pinching the Sciatic nerve as it hurts my lower back, as does any work that requires bending over to work or lift anything. Always later that days the lower back hurts for 1-2 days before fading.

This time, however, the left leg started hurting Monday but I was able to walk for the next 3 days, until Thursday when just walking brought moderate to sharp pains in my left leg from the hip to the foot. From there the pain varys with the day and during the day with the hip, quadricep muscle, shin and/or foot.

In other words parts or all the the left leg. And it fades from mild to severe during the day which makes it hard to know if it's getting better or not. The only good thing is that it doesn't hurt when I sit down. Lying down is another issue as it sometime hurts and sometimes not.

So, it's a short-term setback for now. I'm on the fourth day of rest (not walking) in hopes I can resume walking Monday for the rest of the month. This sets the mileage goal back for the month and the hope of getting to 155 lbs by the end of the month, and down to 150 lbs by May 1st.

So, as I've learned, setbacks will happen, and to be patient to remember I started at 190 lbs a year ago, and the goal is to continue walking for the longterm, and periods of rest are necessary or setbacks can happen. I just need to make them short.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Some Days

Some days I sit on the kitchen counter (yes, the counter) in the predawn darkness outside and realize I don't really want to walk today. The body is sore and tired. The Sciatic nerve is acting up. And the weather is another day of either cold or rain.

I can think of a number of reasons not to walk, to sit home and rest, and I can't think of one reason to walk. Or so the morning starts, even after breakfast and coffee to wake up. But I tell myself, "Ok, just get ready like you would walk and judge from there."

And yes, after a warm shower, I sit down and tape the feet (Spider Tech tape, KT Tape and sports tape) and I put on my knee socks (body adhesive works great to keep them up - it washes off with water). And then the body says, "What the hell, give it a try."

And I walk out the front door and walk, and it doesn't matter if it's the best walk I've had in a while or the worst where I'm still sore and tired by the end, it only matters I walked. I walked 8 miles, saw new or different things, talked to a few people, and sat down at home to feel tired and good.

Some days.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Some Days

Some days walking is just walking. Most days I walk I find myself thinking of something, some idea, some vision, some feeling, some imaginary story, just thinking of anything or just sensing the world as I walk. But some days, there isn't anything but putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. Just walking. Some days.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Rest Days

I walk so many days these recent months that after a rest day I've realized if I don't walk I won't walk. Not walking is easy, getting ready and going out the front door knowing it's 8 miles no matter the weather takes effort, and always worth it in the last quarter mile knowing I made the choice.